Last winter registered nurse Peigi Huseby helped a young patient at her Kaiser Permanente Cascade Park Medical Office. The minor was suicidal and Huseby found out it was due to physical and sexual abuse from family members.
As a mandatory reporter Huseby is designated by law to report cases of suspected child abuse and neglect. So she placed a call to the End Harm Line, Washington’s hotline dedicated to suspected abuse or neglect of vulnerable children. Instead of being connected quickly to someone ready to take a report, Huseby sat on hold for 43 minutes.
Huseby has grown used to waiting long periods of time to report child abuse through the End Harm Line, which is run by the Department of Children, Youth and Families. Huseby, who isn’t advocating on behalf of Kaiser Permanente, has taken her concerns to those who run the End Harm Line, the attorney general’s office, local politicians and state legislators. She spoke to The Columbian in March about the issue, but said she’s seen no substantive changes since then.
Huseby is sure the wait times are leading to missed reports of child abuse, and leaving kids in harm’s way. She’s afraid the problem will go unfixed, and that Washington will continue to put child abuse on hold.
“People are not just going to call back because they are mandatory reporters,” Huseby said. “You’re missing a lot of calls because of this, and hoping is hope, but it doesn’t cut it when it comes to kids and their lives.”